Tech Sprawl within Engineering Teams

Is tech sprawl killing productivity

Tuesday, Dec 27, 2022

Tech sprawl refers to the proliferation of a wide variety of technologies within an organization, often resulting in a fragmented and poorly integrated technology landscape. This can have a number of adverse effects, including:

Increased complexity: Tech sprawl can make it difficult to manage and maintain the various technologies in use, leading to increased complexity and a higher risk of technical issues.

Higher costs: Managing and maintaining a large number of technologies can be costly, as it requires additional staff and resources. This can also lead to unnecessary duplication of efforts and the waste of resources.

Decreased productivity: Tech sprawl can lead to confusion and frustration among employees, as they may have to switch between a wide variety of tools and systems. This can result in decreased productivity and reduced efficiency.

Security risks: A fragmented technology landscape can make it more difficult to ensure the security of sensitive data and systems, as it can be harder to identify and address vulnerabilities.

Lack of strategic alignment: Tech sprawl can make it difficult to align technology with the overall goals and strategy of the organization, as different technologies may have been implemented without a cohesive plan.

With this in mind, there are several steps that organizations can take to minimize tech sprawl:

Implement a technology roadmap: Develop a long-term plan for technology implementation that aligns with the overall goals and strategy of the organization. This can help to avoid the adoption of unnecessary or redundant technologies.

Conduct regular technology reviews: Regularly review the technologies in use to identify any that are no longer needed or that could be consolidated with other technologies.

Establish governance policies: Develop and enforce policies that outline the process for evaluating, selecting, and implementing new technologies. This can help to ensure that technologies are chosen and implemented in a strategic and consistent manner.

Foster communication and collaboration: Encourage communication and collaboration among teams to identify and address any issues related to tech sprawl. This can help to ensure that technology is used effectively and efficiently.

Provide training and support: Provide training and support to help employees effectively use and manage the technologies in use. This can help to reduce confusion and frustration and promote productivity.

In our experience, we’ve found that by widely communicating the available functionality of the technologies in-house, and encouraging the use of technologies that are open source, well documented and understood, integrate well with 3rd party solutions, expose helpful APIs, and have large active communities, the likelihood of, and pain associated with, sprawl is significantly reduced.